Content|August 4, 2011| Author: Kim LaCapria|Tags: ,

HuffPo’s Black Voices Launches

After an announcement earlier this week that Arianna Huffington had picked up ousted OWN CEO Christina Norman, the Huffington Post’s “Black Voices” channel has launched.

Hosted at huffingtonpost.com/black-voices, Black Voices “covers news and cultural trends from a black perspective” and despite some slightly corny features like weekly column “A Look Black,” has a fairly prestigious stable of contributors. Heidi Durrow, Michael Steele, Al Sharpton, Amy DuBois Barnett, Henry Louis Gates, Trey Ellis, Mellody Hobson, Issa Rae and John Legend are among the people expected to contribute to the channel now helmed by Norman.

One of the initial contributions to Black Voices comes from Norman herself, in which she speaks candidly in her inaugural post about her career trajectory and high-profile dismissal by the Big O. Although it’s clear Norman has media prowess, she comes off as a bit unaccustomed to this newfangled new media thing. Giving off a slight impression she may think the role is a novelty, she writes:

Selfishly, I love the chance to step into a new kind of role and unleash my inner blogger. And I’m getting another front row seat — this one as we continue the jerky dance we have with the issues of race, class and equality. This is a new way to get that conversation started, with fresh voices and the promise of a real dialogue.

Huffington had this to say in a press release marking the Black Voices launch:

“We are living in a split-screen world — depending on what part of the screen you are looking at, you will have a very different perception of where things stand. HuffPost BlackVoices plans to cover both sides of the screen, from crushing unemployment on one side, to the best and brightest black innovators, thinkers and cultural game changers on the other. Our goal is to use dynamic storytelling, curation, investigative reporting and real-time opinion to make issues important to the black community become part of the national conversation.”

The site is already well-populated with content- including topical posts about the new biracial Spiderman, the news station that misleadingly edited a video about a black child, and employment initiatives in the Bronx- and will replace AOL Black Voices. Strategic Advisor for Black Voices Sheila Johnson had this to say about the vertical:

“I’m thrilled to be a part of HuffPost BlackVoices. For me, it’s what new media is all about — leveling the playing field to welcome more voices, letting people speak for themselves, and challenging the conventional wisdom. I look forward to working with Arianna, Rebecca [Carroll, Managing Editor] and Christina as we continue to push the boundaries.”

The news release also stated plans to partner with the National Association of Black Journalists to “expand its range of diverse voices.”